Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Gosh, it's been a while. Work and life have both been incredibly manic over the last couple of months and haven't left much time for playing or blogging. I did play a bit of UFO back at the start of Feb, just after the previous post, but I haven't played it since and I've mostly forgotten what I was doing. What I do remember was that I was just feeling like I'd screwed up big time. The game had been going okay, I'd built up a decent squad and a few bases, but then realised I'd over-stretched myself. I hadn't realised that when you hire new staff for your bases you have to pay their wages every month (I know, I'm an idiot), so I built bases and hired as many new people as I could, then when the end of the month rolled around I had to fire them all again to get back into the black. Not a great situation. The other mistake I made was to gleefully pour my money into research (something I always do in games, much to my detriment) and upgrade all my interceptor ships to the best models based on alien tech I'd discovered. I funded this project by selling off my old interceptors. "I won't need them", I thought, "I've got my spangly new ships to take their place." It was then that I noticed that the spangly new ships run on an alien fuel source that I can't synthesize, I can only rescue it from downed alien craft. So basically, my interceptors all ran out of fuel and I have no way of making any more or getting any more from the aliens because I have no ships to intercept them. Great! Way to go, Ben. So, where I left it was that I was frantically selling off my other assets in order to raise enough money to build an old-school interceptor that I can use to actually continue the game. Meanwhile, the aliens are enjoying raping and pillaging the globe at their leisure and I have no way to stop them. It's a great game, but I've played it *really* badly. I should probably start again, but I can't quite face that at the moment. I'll give it a bit longer and see if I can get my new interceptor up and running before it's too late.

As a result of this slight hiatus, I'm going to drop Startopia back into the mix - I don't fancy starting up another fairly free-form game at this point - and see if the randometer will throw me something quick and linear I can buzz through. And the randometer says...Bad Street Brawler! A Streets of Rage style beat-em-up from the heady days of 1987. That'll do nicely.

In other news, I noticed one of my readers (I only have know who you are!) playing FTL on Steam. Enjoying it? I thought it was a great little game.


  1. Nice to have you back Mr Ben. What happened to the writing blog you mentioned in the past?

    On the topic of FTL, when I read this entry I hadn't yet played FTL as the half a dozen or so times I tried to open it I'd just get a white screen flash up for about half a second. Initially I thought it was some kind of meta introduction to the game (Journey taken to the next level) but after a bit of research I saw that I had a problem with my video drivers and pushed it into the too hard basket as I lost days of my life last time I tried to update my drivers.

    Then, my brain booted up at 3am on Good Friday and I couldn't find a way to put it into sleep mode. After feeding the cats and checking my email I read your post and decided that I had four hours to burn so why not fix the driver issue. Two blue screens and several total system freezes later I managed to update said drivers and FTL is a great game. Nice little blend of resource management and space combat. I really like the way the journey is finite. Or at least I assume it's finite as I'm yet to get to the end. I love the difficulty it's set at. Even on easy the challenge feels just the right balance of skill, luck and frustration. I thought I had it licked when all of a sudden six mantis beamed aboard and there goes the universe. I've racked up six hours so far and I don't feel like I'm close to competent.

    I give it a solid 8 out of splaugh.

  2. I just had my first round of FTL. Got to Sector 6, before a glorious clusterfuck of a ship-to-ship battle was my undoing. Silly rock-people beat me up even though I had one of them — a rescued slave, no less! — on my crew. Sheesh.

    Tonnes of fun. I might just make a cup of tea and have another go.

  3. I never did start the writing blog. I carried on writing something every day for the first couple of months, but then dropped the ball last month (for the same reasons I stopped blogging here for a bit - just too busy). I'm intending to start again this month...I know I'm a day late, but yesterday was a holiday, so surely that doesn't count?

    Anyway, back to FTL. I haven't played it since writing this post, but I intend to give it another blast one day soon. I agree that the balance is pretty good - frustrating to begin with when you die a lot, but you gradually get the hang of it and start getting further and further until you get to the point where you can usually complete it every couple of tries, and then you start getting cocky and trying crew/ship combinations and trying to beat it in different ways. Some of those achievements/unlocks are right buggers to get, too. I've only got a couple so far, and I'm nowhere near getting some of them. My only complaint is that luck probably plays a bit too great a part in the game. It's great when you're a beginner and the game gifts you a fantastic weapon early on so you can cruise through the game, but once you start trying to make plans and play to a strategy then it can get annoying when those plans are impossible because a shop doesn't sell what you need, or your crew gets wiped out by a boarding droid in a nebula you can't escape from. That sounds petty - I know that's the point of the game, and it would be rubbish if you could predictably waltz through it - what I mean is that luck swings a bit too wildly. The variety that it brings is fantastic, but too often you'll win or lose purely because of luck, and that can take away some of the enjoyment.

    Gosh, that was a bit of a downer. I absolutely loved the game, so don't know why I'm moaning! Play on...